Monday, July 12, 2010

IRD "Defiant" Bicycle Crank Arm Set

IRD Defiant Track Crank Set
2010, Interloc Racing Design
8 out of 10

I've given up on having a perfectly complete bicycle. Every time I get to the point where I think my bike is at the pinnacle of its perfection, a new must-have part comes along that looks (and, oddly enough in many cases, performs) better that the component it will eventually be replacing. Case in point: the IRD Defiant Track Crank Set.

The Defiant is a quaint throw-back to the Campy Strada or Sugino Mighty crank arm sets of the 1970's. IRD has obviously taken great pains to replicate those legendary brand's fluting aesthetics, while updating the performance for today's cycling demands. For example, the Defiant is cold forged in polished aluminum, weighing in at a scant 600 grams (a bit less weighty than the Soma Hellyer cranks they are replacing on my rig).

But I have to be honest here; while quality and performance are key (and indeed they are with these cranks - this is IRD we're talking about, after all), this crank set is absolutely gorgeous looking. Everything about the Defiant - from the fluting design, to dual chainring, to the polished finish - drips with disco-era sexiness. Once mounted to my bicycle, I have to admit, I couldn't help just gazing longingly at these cranks. For the first time in quite a while, I'm actually ogling my bike again.

And the ride? Remarkably smooth. Eye candy or not, the Defiant powers through rides like a gold metal swimmer doing butterfly strokes in a pool of fine French cream, with absolute ease. These cranks want to go and go, and do so with a quickness. With these new cranks, my steed feels... oh, what's the word I'm looking for...? Um... "zippy?" Not a very sexy adjective in relation to these cranks, but completely apt, nonetheless.

The IRD Defiant retails for about $160.00, which is less than you would pay for  the vintage or NOS Campy or Sugino equivalent. The Defiant comes in three sizes: 165mm (tested), 167.5mm and 175mm arm lengths. These cranks fit JIS square tapered bottom brackets, and the chainring is 46t (standard for most fixed gear bicycles). The IRD Defiant Track Cranks are the perfect compliment to stunt frames, long-haul commuters and tweed steeds alike, and this reviewer cannot recommend them enough.

Yes indeed, yet another mighty nice addition to my two-wheeled steed. It's that whole "never-ending quest for perfection" thing - I'm sure you can relate. For instance, now that ratty ol' seatpost is looking a bit meh.

Here we go again...!

3 comments:

  1. i have yet to see these in 175mm...is that a typo?

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  2. @Steel: these are great cranks, don't get me wrong. Let's just say that the original Campy cranks the Defiant is based on would get a rating of 10.

    @Walter: The IRD website lists these cranks as being available in three sizes, 175mm being one of them.

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